Retro Rig Photo Thread

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Reply 2540 of 2543, by ubiq

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nezwick wrote on 2023-11-17, 13:28:
Here's my retro PC #2. […]
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Here's my retro PC #2.

It was a FB Marketplace find - paid $25 for it in "unknown working condition" with no hard drive or graphics card. I promise you it did not look like these pictures when I bought it. It was a complete disaster with wires and cables and plugs and loose parts everywhere, and of course packed with dust.

At the time, I had just completed my Athlon XP 1700+ tribute system and did not really have a use for another Socket A rig, especially one as ridiculous looking as this. I always considered these types of cases to be gaudy and obnoxious and unnecessarily huge.

I had actually considered parting it out and selling everything on eBay for a profit, but decided to give it a chance and see what I could do with it first. I'm glad I did, because the style has really grown on me and it feels perfectly mid-2000s.

Aside from a general cleaning and a whole lot of time spent on taming the cable mess, it really didn't need much to get going aside from a fresh CMOS battery, graphics card, and a SATA HDD. I installed XP Pro and started taking inventory of the specs.







Case: Thermaltake Xaser III w/ original Thermaltake Hardcano fan controller
CPU: AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (Barton core 400FSB version!) at stock speed
MB: ASUS A7N8X Deluxe, nForce2 chipset, with all the accessory PCI slot brackets
RAM: 1GB Corsair TWIN X DDR 400 (2x 256 and 1x 512, runs in dual channel)
HDD: Seagate 160GB SATA - added from my personal stash
Sound: onboard nVidia nForce2 "SoundStorm"
GPU: Gainward nVidia GeForce FX 5700 256MB AGP 8x - also added from my personal stash
Case cooling: (5x) original Thermaltake 80mm fans, (2x) generic blue LED fans - total of 7 fans
CPU cooling: Thermaltake Volcano7 with a blue LED fan
Lights: Green cold cathodes
Storage: IDE DVD-ROM and CD-RW, and a 3 1/2 floppy
Other: Cooler master round/clear IDE cable and generic round/black floppy cable

I did the best cable management job that I knew how. There are SO many wires to deal with (pertaining to the fan controller, 7 fans, and front panel illumination) and with no cable management pathways, I hid what I could behind the left panel and inside a black sleeve. It doesn't measure up to modern cable management practices, but it's better than what I probably would have come up with in 2003, and it honestly looks period appropriate.

I added the green lights and blue fans. I also upgraded the CPU cooler. It was a stock AMD cooler and the 60mm fan was SO loud. The Thermaltake Volcano7 that I originally had in my 1700+ machine fits pretty nicely in here.

So aside from possibly upgrading the graphics card when I come across a better one, this rig is in its final form. I don't really use it much right now, but I'm definitely hanging onto it. I do enjoy how the blue LED fans and green cathode lighting look together.

Nice! Nice nice nice!

I totally get how old school case bling can be appealing now when it maybe wasn't at the time. When people first started cutting windows into their cases and adding LEDs to their fans, I just couldn't understand why you would want that. As far as I was concerned, a computer should be as small, quiet, and unobtrusive as possible - adding bling to it was the opposite!

Now I'm like.. yeah, it's ok for computers to look cool. 😎👍

Reply 2541 of 2543, by nezwick

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ubiq wrote on 2023-11-17, 22:55:

Nice! Nice nice nice!

I totally get how old school case bling can be appealing now when it maybe wasn't at the time. When people first started cutting windows into their cases and adding LEDs to their fans, I just couldn't understand why you would want that.


Funny thing is, I actually was deep into case modding and lights and things back then, but I was pretty particular and elitist about what I liked. Even if 15 year old me could have afforded one of these beasts in 2003, I wouldn't have bought it. My "thing" was stealthy looking, all-black, or black and silver cases; but with the window in the side to reveal illuminated fans, cathode tubes, and all sorts of UV reactive bits. I always dismissed this whole segment of cases as tacky and gaudy. I've definitely learned to appreciate a lot of the previously-disliked trends from that era just because of the nostalgia factor.

Shuttle AK31 v3 / AXP 1700+ @ 1.61GHz / 1 GB OCZ DDR / Maxtor 120 GB IDE / Radeon X800XL 256 MB AGP / AC Silencer 5 / TT Silent Tower / Audigy 2ZS / XP Pro
ABIT BE6 / P3 Katmai 500 / 512 MB PC133 / 120 GB IDE / Voodoo3 3000 AGP / Diamond MX300 / Win 98SE

Reply 2542 of 2543, by TuesdaysGone

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paulo_becas wrote on 2023-11-08, 23:31:

Here's my pride and joy

Oh wow! I love the look of this machine! Awesome job and the graphics really make it pop! Congrats!

Best wishes,


ASUS P2B-F 440BX BIOS Rev. 1014 Beta 003
Intel "Katmai" Pentium III 450Mhz
256MB, 80GB, Epson SD-800 Combo FD, Voodoo Banshee 16MB, SB Live, CT7160 MPEG-2 PCI Decoder, 3Com 3C905B-TX PCI NIC, Iomega Zip 100, Creative PC-DVD, Sony CDRW, Win 98SE

Reply 2543 of 2543, by SpectriaForce

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nezwick wrote on 2023-11-15, 22:35:

I don't think brand new DDR memory purchased on Amazon is actually brand new. I had bought 2 sticks, expecting a matched pair, and when they arrived they were not. Plus, one turned out to be failing. My guess is that the seller just "tests" some used memory and slaps on a new label for resale. I might eventually take it back to Windows 2000, but for now all my games are installed on XP.

That happens, unfortunately. I have bought memory modules that were advertised as new, but they turned out to be customer returns (packaging was closed, but the seal had been removed before and the modules had signs of installation on the contacts). I also once bought a couple hard disks, advertised as new old stock, for a not so low price, from a 'reputable' 99.x% feedback ebay seller, but when I unpacked them (new ESD bags 🤣) I noticed dust on places that could only come from actual use.